Utah State basketball: Aggies starting fresh for second half of conference play
USU basketball notes • Five-game losing streak drops team to 2-7 in Mountain West.
Published: February 3, 2014 06:56PM
Updated: February 3, 2014 11:28PM

Reset. Restart. Let’s try this again.

Utah State (12-9, 2-7) is adopting that mindset ahead of the second half of Mountain West play. While the Aggies are languishing in a tie for ninth place in the conference, they’re trying to worry about their next game while dropping some of the early season baggage.

“We’re just trying to go one game at a time,” sophomore forward Kyle Davis said. “We’re going to look at these next games as a whole new season.”

When the season is viewed as a whole, the Aggies are in trouble. Utah State has slid into a five-game losing streak, and some of the losses have been brutal blowouts the team was unaccustomed to in the Western Athletic Conference.

But with eyes ahead of them, the Aggies see the ingredients for getting out of the rut. Utah State faces Nevada and Boise State at home this week, a pair of teams that narrowly edged it on the road.

“I think it’s fun,” Davis said. “You look at it as an opportunity to get some revenge. We’re excited to play these teams — teams we were confident against.”

Just because the Aggies are focusing on the present doesn’t mean they aren’t determined to avoid some past mistakes. Freshman guard JoJo McGlaston said one of the big goals for the team is to play with more energy than it did in Reno. An uneven start helped lead to a cold-shooting, ugly loss for Utah State on that trip.

“We have to play with more passion,” he said. “Last time, we played them kind of nonchalant. We have to come out hard on our home court.”

Minutes for young

Early in the year, McGlaston acknowledged it was a bit of an adjustment getting used to coming off the bench for only a few minutes. He and fellow freshman Viko Noma’aea had to get used to being bit players this year after being high school stars.

But with the team in a recent tailspin, the coaching staff has been more open to putting in the young guys. As coach Stew Morrill said after falling to Wyoming, “We had to try something.”

McGlaston was a benefactor on Saturday, helping spark a bit of a run early as the Aggies struggled in the first half against the Cowboys. He ended up playing 20 minutes and scoring seven points.

“When things aren’t going right with the team, we have make adjustments,” McGlaston said. “I just have to take it and do my best with it.”

Round two with West

One thing Davis is looking forward to — another go around with Nevada forward A.J. West.

West had 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks against the Aggies, and helped patrol the paint during Nevada’s 62-54 win last month. The Aggies only shot 37.3 percent inside the arc in Reno.

“We just missed a lot of shots, and that’s something we’ll try to improve this time,” he said. “They’ve got great post players, no doubt. We look forward to the challenge.”

Nevada at Utah State

P Wednesday, 7 p.m.

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